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Government on the wrong track on Hamilton rail

Paul Goldsmith - Transport

19 December 2018

The decision by the Labour-led Government to fund a commuter train between Hamilton and Auckland is another clear example of this Government’s wasteful spending and poor priorities, National’s Transport spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“Putting a maximum of 150 people a day on a diesel train is not going to make any meaningful impression on the congested Southern Motorway. It would be far more sensible to extend the Auckland electric trains beyond Pukekohe to Tuakau so that travellers from all over the Waikato could take a single trip into Auckland.

“The Government’s own business case for the diesel train to Hamilton is woeful.

The benefit cost ratio is 0.5, meaning every $100 million spent on the rail, only $50 million will be returned.

“Based on the passenger service running at almost full capacity every working day of the year for the next six years, the projects amounts to a subsidy of up to $140 per passenger per trip – totalling $78 million.

“But that’s assuming people will use the train. It’s going to take two and a half hours to travel from Hamilton City to Britomart, with a change at Papakura. I don’t know many people who want to spend five hours a day in a train.

“Between June 2016 and 2017, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) recorded an average of 20,532 vehicles travelling northbound, and 22,985 vehicles travelling southbound at Bombay every day.

“With an initial daily capacity of just 150 passengers each way, it won’t make a noticeable difference to the number of cars travelling between Hamilton and Auckland.

“National had a better plan for rail. We would have pushed ahead with complete electrification of the network from Pukekohe to Tuakau.

“This could then come with a park and ride for Waikato commuters to get into Auckland without changing trains. The Government doesn’t appear to have considered this option, because they are ideologically opposed to Park and Ride.

“The Government would be better to focus on what works for most people, rather than carrying out expensive projects for the few.”

ends

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